Taking God to School: The End of Australia's Egalitarian Education?

Taking God to School: The End of Australia's Egalitarian Education?

Taking God to School: The End of Australia's Egalitarian Education?

Taking God to School: The End of Australia's Egalitarian Education?

Synopsis

Fewer Australians now practise a religion or believe in God than at any time in our past. Yet our governments increasingly push conservative Christianity on our children...Nearly forty per cent of secondary school children in Australia attend a private school, and overwhelmingly these are Christian schools. Canberra funds these private schools heavily, and sends evangelical Christian chaplains into both public and private schools. Some states subsidise Christian volunteers to deliver scripture, and some offer a vocational Christian ministry course as a matriculation subject. Some private Christian schools promote Creationism, and some advertise that their first priority is training 'soldiers of God', to take on the 'enemies of the Lord and his dominions', rather than good citizens of Australia...Marion Maddox demonstrates that our governments are systematically demolishing the once proud free, compulsory and secular education system, in favour of taxpayer funded fundamentalism. There are long term implications for our society and for our democracy...'This deeply disturbing book tells how Australia's ''noble dream'' of public education in the 19th Century has been undermined by a combination of selfish political vote buying, judicial abdication and public indifference.' - 'The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG'

Excerpt

Everything in your first week of school is bewildering, from being expected to sit on the mat to learning that ‘hands on heads’ means ‘be quiet’. So when I started at the local infants school in 1971, it seemed no more bizarre than anything else when a classmate asked, ‘What Scripture are you?’ Noticing my blank look, the teacher explained that the class was about to divide for something which was ‘just like Sunday School’, and which would happen every week. To my delight, in walked a family friend, one of the ministers from our local Methodist circuit. He told us a story I knew well about Jesus meeting the tax collector Zacchaeus, and illustrated it by means of two glass jars, pouring water from one to the other to show (I think) how Jesus filled Zacchaeus up with kindness, though I mainly remember worrying about possible spills.

‘Scripture’, or ‘Special Religious Instruction’ as it is formally known, quickly became one of my favourite parts of primary school. Descended from two generations of ministers, I invariably knew the teachers as family friends; the material was always comfortably familiar; and a few times a year we got to leave school for a nearby church, where my best friend’s father was the minister, to mark events like Easter, Christmas and Education Week. For the services, my Methodist class got together with all the other Protestants . . .

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